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#1 Andrew Louis Marnik

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 02:42 PM

It appears to be a vicious circle because if you build a crew for nothing (and not have a good first AD), you spend most of the day bickering with each other about the shot's composition, where that light should be, what the actors should be saying, whereas if you spend some money on a crew that will do what they do, you'll 'still' have to spend money.

Did that make any sense?

What I am attempting to get at is: How do you, the seasoned veterans, assemble a crew of your own for either a short or feature-length film. I've worked on many a 'deferred payment' film, and have never received a dime, sadly enough. Maybe I am looking for hope that there are people still out there that are still after the material, not the paycheck.

Hope some of you can boost my spirits and offer some advice and insight? Thanks a million.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 12:53 AM

Perhaps Emperor Ming is not the best role model for a director :blink: . When working with a unpaid crew the most inportant thing to do is to NOT treat them as though they're doing you a favor. Treat them like professionals and expect professional behavour from them. They are of course NOT professionals but people tend to rise to the occation under strong leadership. You are their director. A director DIRECTS. You choose the course of action to be taken. If you're the director, there should never be a question, debate or bickering on YOUR set about the shot. You tell them what you want and end any "debate" right away with "THIS is what I want". Make people feel it is a privailage to work on your picture. Don't brow beat, encourage. Listen but be firm and decisive. Have a crystal clear vision of what you are going to put on film, how it's going to cut together and what you want from your people. Another thing, keep your people moving. People don't have time too debate if they're busy trying to get the next shot set up. Great leaders inspire their subordinates to greatness. People will walk though fire for you if they believe in you. You have to make them want to be there and want to make the best picture they can and want to work together to achieve that goal. THAT is what a great director does, bring out the greatness in others. Finally, if there's one guy messing up the works FIRE HIM immediately. Bad attitudes are more contagious than the flu and more painful to deal with. Better to be a little shorthanded with people who are entusiastic than over-manned with people who feel they are to good to be there B)
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 04:33 AM

I think when you're working with a crew that's helping you out pro-bono, an important thing to do is make sure everybody has a specific assignment, and knows the limits to their duties.

If someone is assigned as grip or gaffer, they should know to not hover around the camera interfering with the Camera Op & DP by checking out the composition. Making sure there's an established respect for the Director and AD I think is crucial too, as I've noticed that a lot of people get offended by a razoredged AD who's "barking" orders.

James said it right, everyone should treat the project with the highest professionalism...sadly, a lot of free crew members haven't reached that level and don't know proper etiquette.
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#4 Andrew Louis Marnik

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:50 AM

Thank you very much for the wisdom.

It certainly inspires me to be the best I can on a set, so I know for sure my crew and actors trust me.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 09:57 AM

Hi,

> a lot of people get offended by a razoredged AD who's "barking" orders.

I've also seen more than one razoredged AD get away with it, so don't let yours.

Also, for some reason, grips and electrics seem to be just incredibly grumpy all the time - and that's something, coming from me. I think "Is It Just Me, Or Is Everything poop" is an encyclopedia, and I find electrics grumpy. Don't let 'em get away with it.

Phil
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#6 JD Hartman

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 11:17 AM

As a Gaffer and sometimes Electric, I do like to get a look in the monitor. Sometimes, I'll even steal a peak through the camera.
Feed you crew well. Don't rent a $5000 camera and grip package and then tell them: there is no money for anything but pizza everyday.
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#7 Brian Baker

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 11:08 PM

A few random things that this thread made me think of:

- To get people who are iwlling to work free, go the student orute... especially if you've got one or two expereinced guys to work with a bunch of first timers, or those who are barely expereinced... like when I gaff my friends poop, having the "PAs" run my camlock, but teaching them how to hook up the lines, in what order, and why.

- More random: unless you're paying or on a higher-level production, I'd avoid using the term PA, especially as an acronym... most people tend to say it in a very demeaning way; (ie "Can't we just get some PA to do it?")

- Maybe its just thep people I shoot with, but we were "taught" never to interfere with the director (and to a certain extent the DPs) creative vision. One person calls the shots, and the rest of us our there to work... your crew should know that; and when you're directing them well and keeping them busy (as James eluded to) they should know that to.

- When your working free, the "little" stuff -- fresh coffee with each meal, Red Bulls, decent food, snacks throughout the day, a crew van, etc. -- really goes a long way.

- I may be the only G+E who'd be happy eating pizza on set twice a day, every day :)


Hope that this helps,
BtB
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